The Cost of Fast Fashion; 5 Ways to Dress Sustainably

The Cost of Fast Fashion; 5 Ways to Dress Sustainably

Sustainability is not just another new trend, but a revolution that is long overdue. While fast fashion has made clothes available to us at cheaper prices, it has come with huge costs. The cost of fast fashion is mass production of poor quality clothing and environmental degradation. This is a major contributor of global pollution and water consumption. In the fashion industry, we are finally steering the conversation away from how many pieces we own to how sustainable our wardrobe is.

The Cost of Fast Fashion:

The environmental toll of fast fashion is staggering, with numerous studies and reports highlighting its detrimental effects. Here are some key details and numbers:

1. Water Pollution: The textile industry is one of the largest polluters of freshwater globally, with an estimated 20% of industrial water pollution attributed to textile dyeing and treatment. The use of synthetic dyes and chemicals in fast fashion production contributes to the contamination of rivers, lakes, and groundwater, affecting ecosystems and human health.

2. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The fashion industry is responsible for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions, primarily due to the energy-intensive processes involved in manufacturing textiles, production, transportation, and disposal. Fast fashion’s emphasis on rapid turnover and global supply chains exacerbates carbon emissions through increased transportation and energy consumption.

3. Waste Generation: Fast fashion leads to staggering levels of waste generation, with an estimated 92 million tons of textile waste produced annually worldwide. The rise of “disposable” clothing contributes to the proliferation of landfills and incineration, releasing harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

4. Deforestation: The demand for cheap and abundant raw materials, such as cotton and viscose, drives deforestation in ecologically sensitive regions such as the Amazon rainforest. Clear-cutting forests for agricultural purposes not only destroys biodiverse habitats but also exacerbates climate change by reducing carbon sequestration and disrupting ecosystems.

5. Microplastic Pollution: Synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and acrylic, commonly used in fast fashion garments, shed microplastic particles during washing, contributing to marine pollution. These microplastics enter waterways, harming marine life and potentially entering the food chain, posing risks to human health.

6. Labor Exploitation: Fast fashion’s relentless pursuit of low costs often comes at the expense of garment workers’ rights and well-being. Sweatshops, unsafe working conditions, low wages, and exploitation are prevalent in many fast fashion supply chains, perpetuating cycles of poverty and inequality.

How to Dress Sustainably:

As you can see, the cost of fast fashion is high. Here are five ways in which you can contribute to the movement by shopping and dressing more sustainably:

  • Old is Gold: The most sustainable outfits are those already in your wardrobe. Jane Fonda made headlines last year when she vowed to never buy a new piece of clothing again. In fact, she wore a gown to the Oscars that she had previously worn to Cannes. Impressive right? Even if you don’t already have a wardrobe full enough to make a “no new shopping” vow, you can still reinvent your old pieces. There is nothing more environmentally friendly and creatively satisfying than creating a new look from old pieces.
The cost of fast fashion is too high.
pre-loved tank
  • Find your Style: Find your own style if you want to dress sustainably. Wear what expresses YOU best; don’t follow the latest fashion trends. In doing so, you will be doing both yourself and the environment a favor. Literally – tons – of textile waste in generated because of passing fads. Clothes are discarded simply because they are not in trend anymore. We often buy new clothes which are supposedly in fashion even though they might not be what we actually want to wear. Develop your own classic style for a unique look that is easier on the planet and your wallet.
The cost of fast fashion is too high.
pre-loved summer dress
  • Make Thrifting your Thing: Thrift shopping is a booming market. It’s both easy on your wallet and good for the environment. If buying new clothes from sustainable brands is a little expensive, thrifting is an equally good option which everyone has access to. Bonus – you can treat yourself to leather and other items without the guilt.
The cost of fast fashion is too high.
thrifted silk romper
  • Thirty Times Test: Livia Firth started the #30wears campaign to encourage sustainable buying. Before getting a new piece of clothing, ask yourself if you will be able to wear it at least thirty times. You may be surprised at how many times you find the answer is no. Instead of giving-in to frivolous fads or buying new statement pieces which you know you won’t wear more than a couple of times, invest in clothes that you will wear on a more regular basis.
The cost of fast fashion is too high.
classic white knit
  • Fix the Fabric: Choose clothing made from natural fabrics which will easily decompose and return to the Earth. Synthetic fibers stay intact in landfills, taking eons to disintegrate. Fashion made from natural fibers not only consumes less resources than synthetic fibers, but also contributes less pollution. Natural fibers also mean higher quality and comfort, so take care of your favorite natural items!

The cost of fast fashion is too high. It is about time we put a more fashionable foot forward – sustainably. However, lasting transitions don’t happen overnight. Every small change counts. So no matter how small those changes are, just keep making them.


Comments: 3

  1. future100100 says:


  2. nycmag1 says:

    Such a super model! Love it!!!!

  3. nycmag1 says:

    Such a super mode! Absolutely amazed by who you are- So stunning and gorgeous inside nd out! Your fans adore you!

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